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President’s NCASC Speech - Press Release

ADCS President’s opening address National Children and Adult Services Conference

On Wednesday 11 October 2017, Alison Michalska, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) gave her opening address at the National Children and Adult Services (NCAS) conference in Bournemouth.

On deprivation

“We are I think, I hope, beginning to see a move away from some aspects of austerity but families living in deprived areas will continue to suffer unless some flexibility can be introduced to the benefits regime. ADCS has today published a new policy position paper, ‘A country that works for all children’, which highlights the issues in current public policy, including the impact of austerity and an increasingly fragmented approach to public services overlaid with poverty, that are cumulatively having a negative impact on children and their families.”

On supporting migrant and asylum seeking children and families

“This is a massive challenge for us all. Nevertheless, it is a moral duty to support people fleeing from unimaginable horrors. It’s hard to know with precision just how much money local government spends every year supporting families who have no recourse to public funds we think it entirely possible that this figure is well over £100 million a year. These vulnerable families have no legal entitlement to financial support or assistance from the state. But councils cannot and will not leave these families in destitution.”

On systems leadership

“Improved outcomes for children must be the golden thread running through government policy and I include in that Brexit negotiations. Indeed, it must be the foundation of building a country that works for all children. I was asked recently at a conference I was speaking at, what would be the one thing I would ask of the Prime Minister if she was in the room. The answer was easy…please Prime Minister will you be a systems leader for children across government, exerting your influence in the interests of children. I would like the Prime Minister to be a ‘super-DCS’ seeking policy coordination and the marshalling of resources from across the multitude of central government departments with responsibilities for aspects of children’s lives.”

On sector-led improvement

“ADCS, the LGA and Solace have been working together on a proposition for the creation of a trusted and coherent sector-led improvement model in children’s services. A model that not only catches authorities before they fall, but also matches the strengths and areas for development in authorities on an improvement trajectory. Every council has something to give and every council has something to learn regardless of the dangerously over-simplistic one-word judgement labels bestowed upon them by Ofsted. The expertise and the skills required to improve children’s services lie within the sector itself but the sector needs resourcing so it can build capacity that can be released and shared safely and we are talking to the DfE about this.”

The full speech can be found here

The ADCS policy position paper, ‘A country that works for all children’, can be fo on the ADCS website -< p="">


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